Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Washington Post and Reuters report on Center for Consumer Freedom

The Post's excellent article by Caroline Mayer and Amy Joyce confirms what most observers suspected. The Center for Consumer Freedom started as a tobacco industry group, but now gets money from major restaurant chains. Although it has nonprofit 501 (c) (3) status, the Center for Consumer Freedom passed along more than $1 million in 2003 to the private firm of Richard Berman, the lobbyist who founded it.

Reuters yesterday provided the full context for the Center for Consumer Freedom's recent advertising campaign accusing the CDC of hyping obesity concerns. Reuters quotes the Center's spokesperson refusing to list donors, but agreeing that "casual dining restaurant chains 'are predominant sources of funding for us.'" Then, Reuters quotes the chains' officials refusing to say whether they support the Center.

The groups Citizens for Responsiblity and Ethics in Washington and PR Watchreported much of the case against the Center for Consumer Freedom, which was picked up by the American Prospect. U.S. Food Policy had a second-hand report. But, I appreciate the value of the reporting by the Post and Reuters.

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